As part of fundraiser campaign started on Instagram by @jack_attacks_arthritis to support the research of Dr. Terry Wahls, I purchased the #IWriteMyOwnStory t-shirt. If you're Paleo, you're probably familiar with the incredible story of how Dr. Wahls reversed her own MS and went from being bound to a wheelchair to riding a bicycle, just from food, nutrient, and lifestyle support.
Autoimmune disease afflicts millions of people, and my story is not unique, but it is my own. Hashimoto's thyroiditis, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis don't own me. MTHFR, clotting issues, inflammation, and pain don't get to run my life.
While my chronic health issues have certainly helped to shape my story, they do not own me and they are not winning. 7 miscarriages, a high-risk pregnancy, and a traumatic labor and delivery don't own me either. Neither do postpartum depression, anxiety, food allergies, or the inability to breastfeed.
My son is now 7 months old, and he's proof that my health problems don't own me. My body may not be close to what it was before I got pregnant, but I'm okay with that because my body is proof that disease doesn't win. I worked and fought hard to have a postpartum body!
My c-section scar is also proof that medical intervention can be as amazing as natural health because my son and I are both alive and well. I battled guilt for months, and some days it pops back in, because I couldn't birth him "naturally." If you follow holistic or natural mom bloggers or naturopathic doctors, you will frequently see that having a cesarean messes up your child's microbiome for life. You will see that if you don't breastfeed them or get "vaginal seeding," that you will compromise the integrity of their gut forever. I'm here to tell you that while all babies would be born vaginally (and without pain!) in a perfect world, we do not live in a perfect world. We live in a world where, decades ago, women and babies perished in child birth because of complications. Thanks to medical intervention, this is now largely prevented due to the much-vilified c-section.
You'll also see a lot of natural bloggers and doctors say that if you had to have a c-section, that's okay, you can breastfeed them to avoid all the nasty complications that will result. Because, as they say, "breast is best."
Guess what? Once again, we do not live in a perfect world where every woman even has the choice to breastfeed. I desperately wanted to, and I tried (and tried and tried and pumped and cried and tried and tried some more), but I did not have the supply. My son needed so much more than the measly 5 ounces I managed to pump during 24 hours (and that was after 4 or 6 sessions, with bleeding nipples). Yes, the world of bringing a child into the world and trying to nourish them can be very TMI, but it can also be riddled with guilt, judgment, haters, shame, fear, and desperation.
While formula quality as a whole has a long way to go, my son is nourished and thriving because formula works, and fed is best. In that ideal world, every baby would be breastfed to their hearts' content, but let's celebrate the fact that formula exists and babies don't have to go hungry even if their moms cannot or choose not to breastfeed for whatever reason.
We all have things that can make us feel like victims, but those very same things are what can make us champions, survivors, thrivers, and warriors. Don't miss out on your opportunity to seize the reins of your life and write your own story! I am writing my own story, one day at a time, and I look forward to teaching my son how to write his own story with strength, humor, perseverance, and grace.
about the author
Aimee McNew, MNT is a certified nutritionist and a writer who specializes in women's health, fertility, autoimmunity, and the Paleo diet. She is passionate about helping others find success through simplified nutrition. Her first book, The Everything Guide to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: A Healing Plan for Managing Symptoms Naturally released in October, and has been the #1 bestselling new release in gluten-free diets. Order it from Amazon!
All opinions expressed on this site are strictly that: opinions. Nothing replaces the medical advice of your doctor. You are responsible for your own health.